Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Facebook Fabrications

Facebook is a fabulous media tool in many ways. Because I have lived in six countries and developed friendships in each one, it's a wonderful way to correspond, share photos, and keep in touch. I like scrolling through the photos of my daughter and watch videos of her cats, as well as the many travel photos that spark ideas for where I'd like to go next. However, as I comb through the photos of beach parties, cruise excursions, family photos, cute grandkids, birthday cakes and cuddly dogs I wonder. Are we really having such a great time? Is everybody's life as wonderful as it all seems? Doesn't anybody get frustrated, angry or depressed anymore, or has that all been swept into the recyle bin and deleted?

Recently a few articles have been published about the misleading element to facebook. According to a study done by Dr. Richard Sherry, a clinical psychologist, about two-thirds of social-media users lie to ‘airbrush reality’ in order to create a more interesting life. Another survey, done by the social networking site Pencourage, found that '68 per cent embellish, exaggerate or outright lie when documenting events on social media.' This has lead to what is called 'digital amnesia,' a creation of a done-up, fantasy life that confuses facts with reality to the point that reality is distorted and, with time, not even remembered. In otherwords, we're reluctant to share how boring our lives really are; we don't want to share the hassles with boyfriends, lovers, husbands. And certainly we don't want to share how desperately unhappy and depressed we are. According to facebook, nobody's depressed or unhappy or suicidal, it's just one big happy world of birthday parties, weekend trips, and family soirees.

I have to agree with Pencourage because I do know the reality of some of my friends' lives. When I see the photos of my friend relaxing on his yacht in St. Kitt's with his wife frolicking around beside him in her bikini taking selfies of them goofing and hugging, you'd think they were on their second honeymoon, but in reality, their marriage is on the rocks and all they do is fight, to the point they're both unhappy and only one greasy argument away from the divorce court. However, you'd never know it from the pics and all the congratulations they get on their wonderful relationship, with which they so kindly concur with 'Like'.